Two creative ways you can improve your event’s swag bag

The swag bag.

Event attendees look for them. Sponsors look to be in them. It falls to event planners to sort them out.

Creative ways you can improve your event's swag bagA well executed swag bag can improve attendees’ overall view of an event and increase their recall of the sponsors. According to a recent study conducted by the Promotional Products Association International, 76.3 per cent of tradeshow attendees had a favourable attitude towards a company that gave them a promotional product.

But let’s face it; all swag bags are not created equally. Time, resources, and herding numerous contributors can all be barriers to creating a swag bag that wows during your event and long afterwards. I mean, hey, the average promotional item is kept for nearly seven months. That adds up to a lot of repeat brand impressions, so you better make them good.

When you have multiple companies who will be contributing to the same swag bag, the best thing you can do is to encourage some sort of cohesion for the items that are to be included.

Two tactics to create a memorable swag bag

1. Consistent design elements

Most events embrace a design palate. Themes, colours, names, and concepts are usually consistent across invites, web properties, signage, and printed collateral. The next step should be to move that design sense into the swag bag. Provide corporate sponsors guidelines and artwork elements to include on the items they will provide for your bag. Incorporate a consistent design, and the products will feel much more a part of the overall event experience rather than disparate items slapped with brand logos and tossed into a sack.

The swag bag pictured above achieves this perfectly. These items were all produced by different sponsor companies, but the event planner created a cohesive feel by requesting that they all incorporate the same design and colours on the items. The sponsor logos are all worked subtly into the pieces making them feel more like an integrated part of the event. The bag became a symbol of the event, and to my knowledge, the only pieces of signage that actually walked home with attendees.

2. Kit it up

A second way to help create a more memorable swag bag is to approach it like a set. Think of it like a first aid kit for your swag. By choosing items that all work together or complement each other you take single items that might not be that powerful on their own and create something impressive out of them. What’s that saying? “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

For an outdoors event, you could include sunscreen, a rain poncho, gum, hand sanitizer and sunglasses. For a tech conference you include screen cleaners, music download cards, and a USB stick. We’ve done survival kits, hangover kits, and energy kits for events. By choosing items that work together, you create a unified feel and a group of products that underscore the event branding. They are also more useful for the recipients.

Don’t let the swag bag for your events fall victim to prize-closet leftovers. By steering your sponsors in a more design oriented direction, you will be doing a service not only to the overall effectiveness of your event but also to how well your brand partners look to your audience. Great swag complements your event. Incorporate it from the beginning, and it will help your event shine.

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